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Mary Clare Higgins during a press conference held in her office Thursday afternoon.

Clare Higgins: Why these remain taxing times

Friday, April 24, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Are we overtaxed here in Massachusetts? For many years we were known as “Taxachusetts” and there certainly are some who think that is still true. Of course, the cost of living is high is our state. We have the fifth-highest transportation costs, the fourth-highest utility costs and the fifth-highest health care costs, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. This winter certainly pushed the high cost …

Marty Nathan: It ought to be a law, and can: carbon fee and rebate

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Most of the climate news from the oceans and the Arctic and California has been grim, with changes occurring around the world even faster than climate scientists had predicted. But this month, as my mixed-religious family prepared to celebrate Passover and Easter, the two holidays of hope, there was a glimmer of optimism that we might be able to transform our …

Don Robinson: Hillary Clinton on my mind

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ASHFIELD — Why, despite all her “baggage,” does Hillary seem so right this time? The campaign is in its early stages. It is 19 months until Election Day 2016, 21 months till Inauguration Day 2017. In politics, “a week is an eternity,” as sage old Howard Baker used to remind us. So much hangs on Clinton’s health; whom the Republicans select as their …

Mark Zinan: Are zombies here to stay?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SUNDERLAND — Zombies. For a decade and a half now, you can’t escape them in books, social media, movies or TV. In response to this onslaught, essays like this one seek to explain the phenomena. Answers have included our fear of nuclear holocaust, destructive climate change, rebellion against …

Jim Foudy: Love the Olympics, wary of the price tag

Saturday, March 21, 2015

If you have wondered what’s really driving Boston’s bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2024, the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute provided the answer this week: money, and lots of it. Forget the rhetoric about the Olympics burnishing Boston’s international reputation. Boston business and construction industry leaders …

Kevin Lake: Visitors to Northampton’s wild lands should roam responsibly

Thursday, March 19, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Thanks to the work and dedication of countless volunteers and organizations, the city of Northampton has a wealth of permanently conserved open spaces that serve to protect natural systems while allowing for passive recreational use. These include areas of all sizes, in all areas of the …

State Sen. Eric Lesser: Finding solutions to the opioid abuse epidemic

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BELCHERTOWN — One of the most urgent problems facing our community is substance abuse, and in particular, opioid addiction. Nearly 1,000 people in Massachusetts died of unintentional opioid overdoses in 2013, more than double the number of motor vehicle deaths and a 46 percent increase over the previous …

Adam Fisher: What would (a female) Jesus do?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Having been forced by his own father, a Presbyterian minister, to memorize great hunks of the Bible by candlelight, my father came to abominate religion. He took pleasure in jousting with the theologically informed since he …

Steve Smith: A few days in Selma

Monday, March 16, 2015

WORTHINGTON — Fifty years ago this month I made my first and only visit to Selma, Alabama. I was only there for a few days and, although I am now far from that place and time, I am certain that I could return today and retrace my steps …

John Gerber: New life for an old school — the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass

Friday, February 27, 2015

AMHERST — One of the most exciting programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today is an undergraduate major that serves the citizens of Amherst and surrounding towns by growing food, growing community and “growing” new farmers. As local and regional food production expands in New England, so …

John Paradis: Proposed state law takes aim at ‘stolen valor’

Thursday, March 12, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — I was a big Brian Williams fan. I found him to be a likeable, regular kind of guy and I admired the way he projected respectability when delivering the “NBC Nightly News.” I was — and still am — a big fan of Robert McDonald, the …

Marty Nathan: Consider the real cost of plastic bags

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Many images stay in my mind from the nine months that my husband and I lived in Ethiopia, most of them evoking warmth and longing and some awe: generous, handsome men and women; wild mountains sloping into Rift Valley lakes; exotic birds and hippopotami; hand-made houses …

Peter Vickery: Calling out terrorism for what it is

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

AMHERST — There is a difference between good and evil. It is strange to have to make this assertion in response to a writer whose honorific is “Reverend,” but these are strange times. In a recent guest column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Rev. Peter Kakos defends …